Category Archives: “Dogs & Cats”

Introducing Laura Koerber

Recently I’ve been reading novels by newer, largely unknown indie writers. By way of helping them along, I’ll be introducing some of them here. These authors are up-and-coming, at varying stages in their development as writers. They may not all have the polish of traditionally published authors, but I think they all have potential and deserve encouragement.

Laura Koerber wrote her remarkable literary debut, The Dog Thief and Other Stories under the pen name Jill Kearney.  Dogs and sometimes cats meander through this collection of twelve beautifully told stories. Populated by the infirm, the destitute, and the desperate, these are not pretty tales, but they are riveting. I was hooked right from the start with the bold rescue of abused animals in “The Dog Thief,” and I stayed hooked until, like the little fish in “Circles,” Kearney finally let me go. Her character sketches are drawn with bold lines, bringing to life a collection of pathetic, courageous, beaten, and triumphant human beings living on the fringes of society.

You might find your own life reflected here in some way. Strangely, the dog introduced in the first sentence, Lucky the three-legged pit bull, reminded me of one of my granddogs, who has a bum leg and usually doesn’t put any weight on it. The female protagonist in the final story is 59 years old, like me, and some of her reflections mirror some of mine at this time of life. Koerber has us pegged, it seems. Her stories are more than worth every penny.

I recently asked Laura Koerber a few questions about her writing:

What inspired you to write The Dog Thief?

I was inspired to write the first story, “The Dog Thief” by a series of events involving the rescue of five dogs from a situation much like the one in the book: a backwoods neighborhood of eccentric, hardscrabble people, neglect and abuse of animals, and various efforts, legal and extralegal, to help the animals. That kind of opened a door and out poured more stories. I had not previously thought of myself as a writer. I have a degree in art, and I paint.

Had you published anything previously or since?

I have published three books under my real name and am working on a fourth.

I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found is a non-fiction account of the rescue of 124 dogs from a hoarder in Washington state, an amazing story that involves lawsuits, assaults, arrests, protests, and an attempt by the hoarder to run away with the dogs packed in a semi-truck.

I just published Limbo, which is a fantasy about life after death. Actually it’s about souls in Limbo who decide to have a neighborhood block party.

I also published The Listener’s Tale, which is a light, cheerful escapist story for people who want something relaxing to read.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a novel about a mother/daughter relationship.

Where can readers find you?

On my Amazon author pages (Jill Kearney and Laura Kroeber), Goodreads, and Facebook.

Goodbye, Daniel

Last week, our cat Daniel passed away.

Abandoned in a local Petsmart, he came to live with us about two years ago. He could get nasty when he was scared or mad and mauled a couple of family members, but mellowed a bit after a couple of injuries, one involving another cat and one in which his tail was accidentally shut in a door. A year ago he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). He nearly died, but the amazing doctors and techs at Eastern Animal Hospital restored him to a reasonable semblance of health. In his last year, he wasn’t as energetic as he’d previously been, but he still liked to zip outside to chase mice and birds whenever the door opened. Shortly before 2:00 AM on March 18, 2015, his heart gave out. He was about three years old.

Kathy and I have had cats and dogs for most of our married life, and are no strangers to such loss.  Some of our animals have died young, like Daniel, and some have had very full lives.  Punkin, a female tortoiseshell who Kathy referred to as her “attitudinous kitty”, lived to be 20 years old.  Lily, our Great Dane/mastiff, is now 13 years old, which puts her squarely in “older than dirt” range for a dog of that size.  I doubt I could provide a complete catalog of the cats who have passed through our lives; at one point we accidentally ended up with an embarrassingly large number of them.   But in all cases, we have had to contend with the basic fact that our canine and feline pals don’t live as long as we do, so to have a dog or cat is most generally to lose them.

For me, though, there is great consolation in knowing that on the whole we do our best to give them a good home.  Many of our animals have been cast-offs, creatures other people didn’t want or for some reason could no longer keep.  Even though Daniel’s life was short (some might say tragically so), while he was with us he was cared for, had a “brother” (our other cat Logan) to play with, and regularly escaped through the front door to chase local wildlife.

What more could a cat ask for?